THE names of hero soldiers killed in one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War have started to vanish from a Worcester memorial.

Much to the dismay of council chiefs, this roll of honour unveiled at Gheluvelt Park just over two years ago is becoming impossible to read.

The creation, which cost £33,000, features the names of dead soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment.

They fought at Ypres in Belgium to hold back the Germans, etching their efforts into the country’s debt forever.

The interpretation board, which was finished in August 2010, was designed to rust in natural weather conditions but retain the names forever.

But the city council has admitted they will now have to be re-etched because they are becoming unrecognisable.

A city council spokesman said: “The names on the monument could be clearly read when it was installed two years ago.

“The wording sections have degraded far more quickly than was anticipated and we believe the letters, which were originally etched using acid, were not etched deeply enough - It is very regrettable.

“We are looking at the possibility of cutting the letters again, using a different metal.”

But its appearance has been criticised by some community leaders. Councillor Joy Squires said: “I was in the park a week ago and I did notice the names could not be read. “

The concept of it was great but I’m surprised this has happened so quickly - I hadn’t realised they would be unreadable in such a short space of time.”

Shaun McCarthy, secretary of the Worcestershire Royal British Legion, said: “I had heard about this problem on the grapevine.

“From an RBL perspective, I’m glad something is being done and there will be a resolution to it.”

Alan Barnatt, chairman of the Friends of Gheluvelt Park group, said: “Nobody is happy about it because it doesn’t work as it was supposed to.

“But the council is looking at alternative ways to bring the names back, very senior guys are trying to solve the problem.

“It will be solved, this is just bad luck.”